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Insects as drivers of ecosystem processes

Published on Aug 1, 2014in Current opinion in insect science 4.17
· DOI :10.1016/j.cois.2014.06.004
Louie H. Yang23
Estimated H-index: 23
(University of California, Davis),
Claudio Gratton39
Estimated H-index: 39
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Abstract
Insects and other small invertebrates are ubiquitous components of all terrestrial and freshwater food webs, but their cumulative biomass is small relative to plants and microbes. As a result, it is often assumed that these animals make relatively minor contributions to ecosystem processes. Despite their small sizes and cumulative biomass, we suggest that these animals may commonly have important effects on carbon and nutrient cycling by modulating the quality and quantity of resources that enter the detrital food web, with consequences at the ecosystem level. These effects can occur through multiple pathways, including direct inputs of insect biomass, the transformation of detrital biomass, and the indirect effects of predators on herbivores and detritivores. In virtually all cases, the ecosystem effects of these pathways are ultimately mediated through interactions with plants and soil microbes. Merging our understanding of insect, plant and microbial ecology will offer a valuable way to better integrate community-level interactions with ecosystem processes.
  • References (80)
  • Citations (38)
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References80
Newest
Published on Jan 1, 2015in Ecological Applications 4.39
Mireia Bartrons15
Estimated H-index: 15
(University of Wisconsin-Madison),
Claudio Gratton39
Estimated H-index: 39
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
+ 1 AuthorsM. Jake Vander Zanden36
Estimated H-index: 36
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Ecosystems can be linked by the movement of matter and nutrients across habitat boundaries via aquatic insect emergence. Aquatic organisms tend to have higher concentrations of certain toxic contaminants such as methylmercury (MeHg) compared to their terrestrial counterparts. If aquatic organisms come to land, terrestrial organisms that consume them are expected to have elevated MeHg concentrations. But emergent aquatic insects could have other impacts as well, such as altering consumer trophic ...
13 Citations Source Cite
Published on Aug 1, 2014in Ecological Entomology 2.24
Hilary Bultman1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of Wisconsin-Madison),
David Hoekman10
Estimated H-index: 10
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
+ 1 AuthorsClaudio Gratton39
Estimated H-index: 39
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
1. Mobile organisms such as emergent aquatic insects can subsidise land with aquatic nutrients, creating a link between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. 2. Deposition of aquatic insects on land produces bottom-up effects in arthropod detritivore communities and may also affect plants and plant–herbivore interactions. 3. To investigate the effects of insect deposition on plant–herbivore interactions, we conducted a field experiment and surveys of tealeaf willow (Salicaceae; Salix phylicifolia ...
15 Citations Source Cite
Published on Mar 1, 2014in Ecology Letters 9.14
Daniel B. Metcalfe31
Estimated H-index: 31
(Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences),
Gregory P. Asner97
Estimated H-index: 97
(Carnegie Institution for Science)
+ 20 AuthorsFelipe Sinca13
Estimated H-index: 13
(Carnegie Institution for Science)
The functional role of herbivores in tropical rainforests remains poorly understood. We quantified the magnitude of, and underlying controls on, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycled by invertebrate herbivory along a 2800 m elevational gradient in the tropical Andes spanning 12°C mean annual temperature. We find, firstly, that leaf area loss is greater at warmer sites with lower foliar phosphorus, and secondly, that the estimated herbivore-mediated flux of foliar nitrogen and phosphorus from pl...
88 Citations Source Cite
Published on Mar 1, 2014in Ecosystems 4.03
Oswald J. Schmitz49
Estimated H-index: 49
(Yale University),
Peter A. Raymond53
Estimated H-index: 53
(Yale University)
+ 12 AuthorsMark A. Bradford50
Estimated H-index: 50
(Yale University)
Understanding the biogeochemical processes reg- ulating carbon cycling is central to mitigating atmospheric CO2 emissions. The role of living organisms has been accounted for, but the focus has traditionally been on contributions of plants and microbes. We develop the case that fully ‘‘animating’’ the carbon cycle requires broader consideration of the functional role of animals in mediating biogeochemical processes and quanti- fication of their effects on carbon storage and exchange among terres...
75 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 1, 2014in Nature 41.58
Colin Averill9
Estimated H-index: 9
,
Benjamin L. Turner61
Estimated H-index: 61
,
Adrien C. Finzi52
Estimated H-index: 52
Ecosystem mycorrhizal type is shown to have a stronger effect on soil carbon storage than temperature, precipitation, clay content and primary production; ecosystems dominated by ectomycorrhizal and ericoid mycorrhizal fungi contain 70% more soil carbon per unit nitrogen than do ecosystems dominated by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.
306 Citations Source Cite
Published on Nov 1, 2013in Ecosphere 2.67
Natalie A. Clay10
Estimated H-index: 10
(University of Oklahoma),
Jane Lucas5
Estimated H-index: 5
(University of St. Thomas (Minnesota))
+ 1 AuthorsAdam D. Kay17
Estimated H-index: 17
(University of St. Thomas (Minnesota))
Aboveground consumers can shape belowground processes by serving as conduits for resources. Social insects dominate in terms of biomass in tropical forests, but compared to studies on large mammals, or aggregate solitary insects, we know relatively little about the role of social insects as nutrient conduits particularly in complex environments like tropical forests. Social insects like ants in the tropical forest canopy can connect aboveground and belowground food webs by producing a nutrient s...
13 Citations Source Cite
Published on Nov 1, 2013in Ecosystems 4.03
Mireia Bartrons15
Estimated H-index: 15
(University of Wisconsin-Madison),
Monica Papeş15
Estimated H-index: 15
(Oklahoma State University–Stillwater)
+ 2 AuthorsM. Jake Vander Zanden36
Estimated H-index: 36
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Emergent aquatic insects can provide inputs to terrestrial ecosystems near lentic and lotic waterbodies, producing ecosystem linkages at the aquatic–terrestrial interface. Although aquatic insect emergence has been examined for individual sites, the magnitude and spatial distribution of this phenomenon has not been examined at regional spatial scales. Here, we characterize this cross-habitat linkage for the state of Wisconsin, USA (169,639 km2). We combined GIS hydrological data with empirical d...
26 Citations Source Cite
Michael S. Strickland21
Estimated H-index: 21
(Yale University),
Dror Hawlena20
Estimated H-index: 20
(Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
+ 2 AuthorsOswald J. Schmitz49
Estimated H-index: 49
(Yale University)
Trophic cascades—the indirect effects of carnivores on plants mediated by herbivores—are common across ecosystems, but their influence on biogeochemical cycles, particularly the terrestrial carbon cycle, are largely unexplored. Here, using a 13C pulse-chase experiment, we demonstrate how trophic structure influences ecosystem carbon dynamics in a meadow system. By manipulating the presence of herbivores and predators, we show that even without an initial change in total plant or herbivore biomas...
48 Citations Source Cite
Published on May 1, 2013in Ecosphere 2.67
Aimée T. Classen31
Estimated H-index: 31
(University of Tennessee),
Samantha K. Chapman14
Estimated H-index: 14
(Villanova University)
+ 2 AuthorsGeorge W. Koch37
Estimated H-index: 37
(Northern Arizona University)
Although herbivores are well known to alter litter inputs and soil nutrient fluxes, their long-term influences on soil development are largely unknown because of the difficulty of detecting and attributing changes in carbon and nutrient pools against large background levels. The early phase of primary succession reduces this signal-to-noise problem, particularly in arid systems where individual plants can form islands of fertility. We used natural variation in tree-resistance to herbivory, and a...
8 Citations Source Cite
Published on Mar 1, 2013in Nature Geoscience 14.39
Trisha B. Atwood12
Estimated H-index: 12
,
Edd Hammill12
Estimated H-index: 12
+ 4 AuthorsJohn S. Richardson43
Estimated H-index: 43
Predators can potentially influence the exchange of carbon dioxide between ecosystems and the atmosphere. Predator manipulation experiments with fish and invertebrates in a range of freshwater systems suggest that freshwater carbon dioxide emissions are reduced in the presence of predators.
55 Citations Source Cite
Cited By38
Newest
Published on Jun 1, 2019in Journal of Insect Conservation 1.56
Jonas Hagge1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Technische Universität München),
Sebastian Seibold14
Estimated H-index: 14
(Technische Universität München),
Axel Gruppe9
Estimated H-index: 9
(Technische Universität München)
In Europe, anthropogenic habitats that are optimised for agriculture and forestry purposes have widely replaced natural habitats. To assess their value for biodiversity, we compared beetle communities among three anthropogenic land use types, namely spruce plantations, Christmas tree plantations and maize fields. These three land use types are all characterised by high phytobiomass and vertical plant structure and represent a gradient of anthropogenic impact linked to fertilisation, pesticide us...
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Published on Jun 1, 2019in Biological Reviews 11.70
Mark K. L. Wong1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of Oxford),
Benoit Guénard7
Estimated H-index: 7
(University of Hong Kong),
Owen T. Lewis37
Estimated H-index: 37
(University of Oxford)
1 Citations Source Cite
Published on Apr 22, 2019in Ecology 4.62
Louie H. Yang23
Estimated H-index: 23
(University of California, Davis),
Richard Karban40
Estimated H-index: 40
(University of California, Davis)
Source Cite
Published on Mar 14, 2019in Diversity
Matthew P. Hammond1
Estimated H-index: 1
,
Jurek Kolasa23
Estimated H-index: 23
Long-term or cumulative diversity is the biodiversity that accumulates at a site over many generations of community members. Cumulative diversity is likely important to the intrinsic and functional value of ecosystems given the legacies left behind by many species. While its components—average short-term diversity (alpha) and temporal turnover (beta)—have been extensively studied, cumulative diversity itself has not. We therefore examined the environmental and community drivers of cumulative div...
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Published on Mar 1, 2019in Functional Ecology 5.49
Thomas B. Parr9
Estimated H-index: 9
(University of Delaware),
Krista A. Capps13
Estimated H-index: 13
(University of Georgia)
+ 1 AuthorsKari A. Metcalf1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Tetra Tech)
1 Citations Source Cite
Published on Mar 1, 2019in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 3.54
Attila Torma5
Estimated H-index: 5
(University of Szeged),
Péter Császár3
Estimated H-index: 3
(University of Szeged)
+ 4 AuthorsRóbert Gallé9
Estimated H-index: 9
(University of Szeged)
Abstract Grazing and mowing are widely applied management practices in semi-natural grasslands, which are one of the most important habitats for biodiversity conservation in Europe. Due to the decline in extensively grazing livestock numbers, an increasing area of formerly grazed grasslands has being used as mown grasslands. However, we have scarce information on how arthropod assemblages are influenced by mowing in formerly grazed pastures. We assessed the effects of mowing compared to grazing ...
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Published on Mar 1, 2019in Food Webs
Jeff S. Wesner9
Estimated H-index: 9
(University of South Dakota),
David M. Walters21
Estimated H-index: 21
(United States Geological Survey),
Robert E. Zuellig10
Estimated H-index: 10
(United States Geological Survey)
Abstract Adult aquatic insects are a globally important subsidy in terrestrial food webs. However, our understanding of their importance is largely limited to studies that measure predation of live insects by terrestrial predators. Yet the flux of adult aquatic insects to terrestrial detrital pools may also be an important subsidy pathway, particularly in cases where insect production exceeds the consumption capacity of predators. We used empirical measures of giant salmonfly ( Pteronarcys calif...
1 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 1, 2019in Entomologia Experimentalis Et Applicata 1.45
Sharon E. Zytynska10
Estimated H-index: 10
(Technische Universität München),
Sebastian T. Meyer23
Estimated H-index: 23
(Technische Universität München)
Source Cite
Published on Jan 1, 2019
Oksana Skaldina2
Estimated H-index: 2
,
Jouni Sorvari12
Estimated H-index: 12
Source Cite